Princess of the Midnight Ball
By Jessica Day George
2010, Bloomsbury USA, 304 pages
Things I've Learned from Fantasy-ish Books:
1. Stay away from strangers you meet on mostly abandoned country roads.
1a. ....unless they look like they might give you magical gifts, in which case, by all means, say hi.
2. If you are at a dance/festival in an underground magical world OF ANY SORT (fairy kingdoms or not), do not drink any liquid offered to you in a goblet. I don't care how thirsty you are, you will pay for it in the long run, one way or another.
Well, I could go on, but you get the gist. My husband didn't look too thrilled when I turned to him in bed while reading this book and offered up nugget of wisdom #2. But it is so true. You know it is.
Princess of the Midnight Ball is based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, after all, so one can hardly be upset that it did fall into some predictable conceits. Regardless, I was on the edge of my seat, cheering for these characters (sometimes out loud, about an "invisibility cloak," embarrassingly enough) throughout the book.
Princess Rose and her 11 younger sisters are cursed to spend their nights dancing in an underground kingdom because their late mother made a shady deal with the evil King Under Stone. When people of the kingdom start spreading rumors of witchcraft, it's up to Galen, a young former soldier who now works in the palace's gardens, to free the girls from the curse, reveal the truth about their plight and earn Rose's hand in marriage.
Well, thankfully Galen followed #1a up above, because the yarn and invisibility cloak and old woman gave him during his travels are the key to everything. That may sound hokey, and it is the type of cute fairy tale you can imagine as a bedtime story, but it's also a surprisingly modern fairy tale. The soldier has a sensitive side that's nice to see, and while the princesses made need rescuing, they are a feisty and witty bunch.
Gotta love a happily ever after.
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